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A sharp, rainbow-colored tale that’s sure to entertain and teach young readers.

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This debut middle-grade fantasy novel finds three children drawn into a magical quest to find other kids who went missing decades ago.

Ten-year-old Chelzy Stone, her parents, and her 12-year-old brother, Matthew, moved to Simonsville, Pennsylvania, a year ago. As summer approaches, she and Matthew are ready to enjoy their vacation from school. Matthew plans to read comics and play video games, and Chelzy hopes to explore the group of trees—or “Magic Woods,” as Grandpa Stone calls them—behind their home on Sycamore Street. One day, she glimpses what looks like a black-cloaked woman in flight near the trees, and it naturally stokes her imagination. She’s also excited to meet her new neighbor, a shy 11-year-old girl named Tory Herold. The new girl introduces the siblings to an old board game called The Lost and Found Game, which her Uncle Tony gave her. Eerily, the game’s cards feature pictures of black dust and a scrap of black cloth, which match real-life objects that Chelzy and Matthew recently found outside. Later, Grandpa Stone tells the kids about three Sycamore Street children who went missing in 1982, supposedly carried off into the woods by black birds. Do Chelzy, Matthew, and Tory dare investigate the Magic Woods themselves? After all, The Lost and Found Game ends with a challenge involving a Dark Queen. Procopio’s debut blends the dazzling splendor of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with structured magic that’s reminiscent of that in the Harry Potter series. It’s the colorful parade of characters that steals the show, however, including the Bright Queen and Melzabod, a blue unicorn who guides the kids through such areas as the Sea of Weeping Willows. Indeed, animal helpers abound, making it tough for “The Trio,” as the third-person narrator calls them, to err too badly. However, the author eventually adds a plot twist that forces Chelzy and company to rely on their own skills. She also adds real-life nature facts, including an explanation of the difference between evergreen and deciduous trees. A warm, thoughtful ending leads toward a sequel.

A sharp, rainbow-colored tale that’s sure to entertain and teach young readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9860607-0-0

Page Count: 262

Publisher: RoseLamp Publications

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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